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Domestic Violence Essay

Against Women is a global issue reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distinctions. It is a problem without frontiers. Not only is the problem widely dispersed geographically, but its incidence is also extensive, making it a typical and accepted behavior. Only recently, within the past twenty-five years, has the issue been “brought into the open as a field of concern and study” (Violence Against Women in the Family, page 38).

Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event but rather a pattern of repeated behaviors that the abuser uses to gain power and control ver the victim. Unlike stranger-to-stranger violence, in domestic violence situations the same perpetrator repeatedly assaults the same victim. These assaults are often in the form of physical injury, but may also be in the form of sexual assault. However the abuse is not only physical and sexual, but also psychological. Psychological abuse means intense and repetitive humiliation, creating isolation, and controlling the actions of the victim through intimidation or manipulation.

Domestic violence tends to become more frequent and severe over time. Oftentimes the abuser is physically violent sporadically, ut uses other controlling tactics on a daily basis. All tactics have profound effects on the victim. Perpetrators of domestic violence can be found in all age, racial, ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, linguistic, educational, occupational and religious groups. Domestic violence is found in all types of intimate relationships whether the individuals are of the same or opposite sex, are married or dating, or are in a current or past intimate relationship.

There are two essential elements in every domestic violence situation: the victim and abuser have been intimately involved at some point in time, and the abuser onsciously chooses to use violence and other abusive tactics to gain control over the victim. In some instances, the abuser may be female while the victim is male; domestic violence also occurs in gay and lesbian relationships. However, 95% of reported assaults on spouses or ex-spouses are committed by men against women (MTCAWA e-mail interview) “It is a terrible and recognizable fact that for many people, home is the least safe place” (Battered Dreams, 9).

Domestic violence is real violence, often resulting in permanent injuries or death. Battering is a widespread societal problem with consequences reaching far beyond individual families. It is conduct that has devastating effects for individual victims, their children and their communities. In addition to these immediate effects, there is growing evidence that violence within the “family becomes the breeding ground for other social problems such as substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, and violent crimes of all types” (MTCAWA e-mail interview).

Domestic violence against women is not merely a domestic issue; but, rather a complex socio-economical crisis that threatens the interconnected equilibrium of the entire social structure. Causes & Effects “Within the family there is a historical tradition condoning violence” Violence Against Women: The Missing Agenda, 29). Domestic violence against women accounts for approximately 40 to 70% of all violent crime in North America. However, the figures don’t tell the entire story; less than 10% of such instances are actually reported to police (The Living Family, 204).

The causes of domestic violence against women are numerous. Many claim stress is the substantial cause of domestic conflict resulting in violence. Though stress in the workplace is a contributing factor, it is by no means the substantial one. Many people suffer from stress disorders, but most don’t esort to violence as a means of release. It is apparent that the substantial causes have more to do with the conditioning of males culturally, and within the family of orientation than anything else.

Historically, women have been treated more as belongings than human beings; Old English Common Law permitted a man to abuse his wife and kids, as long as he didn’t use a stick thicker than the width of his thumb–“Rule of Thumb” (The Living Family, 201). Culturally, men have been conditioned to repress their feelings of emotion–always acting like the tough guy, the linebacker, the cowboy. But, when confronted with an emotionally difficult conflict, one which is impossible to shove down deep, they irrupt in volcanic proportions, often taking out years of repressed rage on those closest to them, in particular their own family.

However, what seems to be the most significant cause of the male tactic of violent conflict resolution is violence within the family of orientation. Statistics show that 73% of male abusers had grown up in a family where they saw their mother beaten, or experienced abuse themselves (MTCAWA e-mail interview). Using the (relatively accepted) Freudian model, which claims that ll mental illness stems from traumatic childhood trauma, one can see how there is a direct correlation between violence in the family of orientation and violence within the family of procreation.

And, indeed, abusers are mentally ill, though the illness tends to be more subtle than others: many abusers display a Jekyll&Hyde personality, where they are nothing like their domestic selves outside the home. In most cases the cycle of violence starts slowly; it usually consists of a slap in the face or a hard shove. But the frequency and degree of violence escalates with time. The abuser will justify the abuse by pointing out his ife’s inadequacies and faults. But, no matter how wrong the wife is, there is little, if no, justification for spousel abuse within a civil society.

The real issue at hand is the neurosis within the male psyche. Just as in rape, the key issue is control. Male abusers are laden with fear about losing power. They inflict physical abuse on their spouse to prove that they have, still have, and will have control over their spouses (and/or children. ) They won’t stop there either. The pattern of abuse involves severe mental torture and humiliation–blaming, threatening, ignoring, isolating, forcing sex, onitoring phone calls, and restricting any form of social life. It is a vicious cycle of abuse, where the wife is almost literally chained to the husband.

Her self-esteem has been obliterated. She is financially, emotionally, and functionally helpless. She is incapable of reaching out for help for herself or for her children. At this point the abuse gets more routine; the abuser sites his partner’s pathetic state as more reason to beat her. And the victim sinks deeper, and more beatings ensue. She has been infected with psychological-AIDS; she has no defense (“immune system”) to combat the disease of abuse. For women, escaping an abusive relationship is VERY difficult. And the abuse usually doesn’t stop at the discretion of the male.

An in-depth study of all one-on-one murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in Canada from 1980 to 1984 found that 62% of female victims were killed by a male partner (Violence Against Women Homepage). It is painfully clear that victims have little but two choices: leave or die. Sadly, the latter is the easier one. Domestic Violence as a Health Issue The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or nfirmity” (In the Health of Women: A Global Perspective, 78). Based on this, domestic violence against women is clearly a health problem.

In 1984, the U. S. Surgeon General declared domestic violence against women as the number ONE health problem (Violence Against Women Homepage). Physical violence is the most basic form of domestic violence, leading to extensive injury, unsuccessful pregnancies and even murder. As mentioned above, in Canada 62% of women murdered were killed by an intimate male partner. These are deaths caused by a preventable social problem.

Actual or threatened physical violence, psychological violence and the enial of physical and economic resources all have an enormous impact on women’s mental health. A history of victimization is seen as a strong risk factor for the development of mental health problems” (MTCAWA e-mail interview). These problems take many forms, all affecting women’s ability to attain a basic quality of life for herself and her family. Abuse is strongly associated with alcoholism and drug use in women (Facts About Domestic Violence). It also can lead to “fatigue and passivity coupled with an extreme sense of worthlessness” (Violence Against Women in the Family, 78 ). These symptoms together remove any nitiative and decision making ability from the victim.

This lethargy, coupled with economic barriers, makes escape from the situation very difficult. The lack of initiative also thwarts women’s abilities to participate in activities outside of the home. High levels of stress and depression are also extremely common mental health problems for victims of family violence, often leading to suicide (Facts About Domestic Violence). In the United States, one quarter of suicide attempts by white women and one half of attempts by African American women are preceded by abuse (In the Health of Women: A Global Perspective, 128).

The World Bank’s analysis found domestic violence to be a major cause of disability and death among women; the burden of family violence is comparable to that of HIV, tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease or cancer (Domestic Violence Against Women: A Global Issue, 29). In industrialized nations one in five healthy days of life are lost to women age 15 to 44 due to domestic violence (Fact Sheet About Domestic Violence) Domestic violence “diverts the scarce resources of national health care systems to the treatment of a preventable social ill” (Violence Against Women in the Family, 87).

Medical costs for the treatment of abused women total at least 3 to 5 billion dollars annually in the United States. Battered women in the United States are four to five times more likely than non-battered women to require psychiatric treatment, and over one million women in the U. S. use emergency medical services for injuries related to battering each year. Finally, families in the United States in which domestic violence occurs use doctors eight times more often, visit the emergency room six times more often and use six times more prescription drugs than the general population (Facts About Domestic Violence. )

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Home » Domestic violence » Domestic Violence Essay

Domestic Violence Essay

People who are close to one another need to trust each other. We should trust our parents not to hurt us, and to give us what we need to grow. Boys and girls should trust each other, as well as men and women. When someone is abused, the trust is broken. Domestic violence is the use of physical force within a home in any form of abuse. Abuse can be a whole range of physical behaviour, slapping, hitting, beating, or using weapons to hurt someone. It includes verbal and emotional abuse, where someone is constantly insulted and made to feel sad and worthless. It can also include rape and sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is when someone forces another to have sexual intercourse or do other sexual things against their will. Another form of abuse is total control where one adult makes all the decisions for another person or for a whole family. Family violence may start with an argument or even a fight, but it goes way beyond fighting. Some abusers were beaten as children, and others saw their parents use violence. Some abusers are uncomfortable with feelings like sadness, embarrassment, hurt, or even love. When these people have these feelings, they get angry, and then they get violent.

Some abusers get violent when they run out of words, and some are drunk. Some abusers are jealous, mentally ill, or feel overwhelmed by problems. Some are just mean. One thing all forms of family violence share is how they start. A desire to have control leads to the violence. Every year, at least one million women are physically, sexually, or psychologically abused by their husbands or common law partners. Two women are murdered by their male partners every week. Throughout much of the history of Western civilization, deep-seated cultural beliefs allowed women only limited roles in society.

Many people believed that women’s natural roles were as mothers and wives. These people considered women to be better suited for childbearing and homemaking rather than for involvement in the public life of business or politics. Widespread belief that women were intellectually inferior to men led most societies to limit women’s education to learning domestic skills. Well-educated, upper-class men controlled most positions of employment and power in society. Traditionally, female family members existed only in terms of their relationships to men.

As daughters, subject to the control and whim of fathers, women represented a means of economic or political gain through marital arrangements. As wives, they became their husbands’ property, and symbols of power and status. Violence against women served to coerce their acquiescence in this scheme and perpetuate subservience to male relatives. Legally permitted abuse of women continued to exist in many Western cultures until the late nineteenth century. Early Roman societies deemed a wife the property of her husband and therefore subject to his control.

According to early Roman law, a man could beat, divorce, or murder his wife for offenses committed by her which belittled his honour or threatened his property rights. Roman society considered enforcement of such rights of control essentially a private matter, and thus failed to subject the husband to either public scrutiny or disapproval. Both the Old and New Testament attest to the belief in early teachings in the obedience of women. Indeed, Eve’s creation from the rib of Adam provided an excuse for early preaching regarding women’s submissive role within the family.

According to the teachings, a woman’s virtues included obedience, chastity, and passivity. Failure to conform to those standards subjected to an unruly wife to death by mutilation or stoning. The misuse of the scripture to excuse the authority over women is unacceptable. Clearly, men and women are created equally in the image of God and are one in Christ. In his Apostolic Letter ‘On the Dignity and Vocation of Women,’ Pope John Paul II says that it is a sinful situation when a woman is, “the object of domination and male possession.

He affirms that the passage at 3:16 of Genesis (“Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you”) does not mean that men are created to rule over women. On the contrary, the “ruling over” that we have seen in history is the result of sin and broken relationships between God and humanity and among people. All parents want their children to do the right thing, so when a child doesn’t eat or dress properly, a mother or father may be upset or even mad. But, an abuser doesn’t need a reason to be mad or hit. When an abuser gets violent, it is because of something that he or she sees, feels, or thinks.

It is never because of something the child does. It is the parents’ role to provide for their children’s physical needs. They must protect their children from physical harm and provide for their children’s needs for love, attention, and affection. Parents must protect their children from emotional harm and provide moral and ethical guidelines. Violence is only one method abusers use to get their way. They also threaten and deprive people of things they need to live, like money or food. Child abusers may lock children in the house during the day with no one to watch or feed them.

A woman abuser may take his wife’s money and pull out the phone. In many cases, the father is the active abuser and the mother is the silent partner. However, this is by no means the only family scenario. In some families, the mother is the active abuser and the father is the passive one. Most of the time, child and woman abuse do not occur together, however, in almost half of all homes where there are abused children, the mother is also abused. One common belief is that when a husband hits his wife, she will then beat her children. Sometimes this is true.

Mothers are responsible for about 30 percent of all child abuse. Women do most of the parenting in society, so when children are deprived of what they need to live, mothers are usually responsible. But, men commit most of the physical abuse, particularly when severe injury to children is involved. The ‘battering cycle’ consists of three phases that could vary in timing and intensity for the same couple and from one couple to the next: tension-building or ‘stress stage’, the explosion of acute battering or the ‘abusive incident’, and loving remorse also called the ‘honeymoon phase’.

During the stress stage, there is ongoing emotional strain between victim and abuser as tension and frustration grows. Unresolved conflict and previous feelings of anger burn inside an abuser like a volcano ready to explode. During the next phase, the violence occurs. He becomes driven from within and the physical action is even pleasurable. It releases the pent-up tension and rage. The process feeds on itself, leading to faster and harder blows until the weapon is empty or destroyed or the abuser is exhausted. The repeat abuser becomes addicted to this tension release. It’s the only way he knows to rid himself of his bad feelings.

When he finally explodes, his rage is uncontrollable. The victim is battered, verbally put down, sexually humiliated, threatened with violence and physically harmed. This could result in minor injuries to even death. During the ‘honeymoon phase’ the victim and abuser try to forget what has happened. The abuser either displays loving behaviour in attempts to reconcile, flatly denies what has happened, or promises to change. The abuser may even be absent entirely from the scene. Abusers may mentally reconstruct the act in order to blame the victim for having provoked the aggression.

The victim tries to believe that the suffering is over and it is, temporarily, until tension builds and the cycle repeats itself. During the build up phase, the victim knows all too well where the verbal attacks are leading. She can see the dark side coming. As the tension grows, the gradual descent into hell begins, paved with sarcasm, put-downs, insults, and humiliation about her ability as a mother, a housekeeper, and a lover. The woman, in a desperate attempt to avoid the inevitable, usually goes into a survival mode. She swallows her own outrage and caters to her man’s every whim.

She tries, at first, to avoid the inevitable by pacifying him, making sure nothing upsets him, doing little extra favours. It’s hopeless, and the fists fly, or an abrupt backhander sends her reeling. And, sometimes, sensing that it is unavoidable, she may even provoke him, just to get it over with. During an assault, the victim quickly realizes that escape is futile. She usually dissociates. Women describe leaving their bodies with their mind. A surrealistic state of calm may occur during which the wife experiences the abuse like a slow-motion movie.

This may be coupled with a sense of disbelief, a sense that the incident is not really happening to her. After the violence, the victim’s reactions are similar to those who have experienced a natural disaster. These typically involve emotional collapse within twenty-two to forty-eight hours after the catastrophe and symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as listlessness, depression, and feelings of helplessness. Victims tend to isolate themselves for some time, in an attempt to heal and to avoid the shame that accompanies having their injuries detected by friends.

Frequently, battering occurs when assaultive men are inebriated, and they often blame the violence on alcohol. In general, assaultive men have very high alcohol use scores. Alcoholic men experience depression and anxiety – so-called dysphoric states. Alcohol is one of the common ways they learn to suppress and blot out these uncomfortable feelings. So is anger. Since these individuals experience the dysophoric feelings as a function of their personalities, and since alcohol is a disinhibitor – that is, it relaxes one’s inhibitions – what results is a volatile combination of unhappy, angry men who have lost all restraint.

This puts them at an even greater risk for violence. Alcohol and anger clear out depression but unfortunately, they do so at great cost to the drinker. Like alcoholics who haven’t confronted their addiction, batterers are in denial, minimizing the seriousness and frequency of their violence and their responsibility for it. It is a mistake to blame alcohol for the violence. When people say, “The alcohol made me do it,” they’re blaming one symptom – violence – on another – alcohol. These are both aspects of an abusive personality. So, while there is an association between alcohol use and violence, one does not cause the other.

Both are traced back to an earlier aspect of the self. One’s personality is formed much sooner than one learns to use alcohol or to hit. Children can be hurt simply by seeing parental violence. The parent uses criticism as a means of control, so no matter what the child does, the parent will find something to criticize. The child becomes an outlet of frustration, a scapegoat for all that is wrong with his parents. This is a corrupting way for alcoholic parents to justify and ventilate their own inadequacies. Sometimes when children see abuse, they have nightmares and trouble sleeping.

Little children and even older children may wet the bed. Children may also have trouble in school, even getting into fights with their friends. Or, they may retreat into silence and stop playing with their friends. Sometimes children who are abused take out their anger on pets and sometimes may even kill them. Sometimes they become very passive and quiet and always seem sad. Abused children have confusing feelings. They feel trapped and guilty that they may be responsible for the violence. They also feel ashamed that this is happening to them. At the same time, many abused children feel loyal to their parents.

They want and need attention and love, and they deserve it. When the person who is supposed to love them hurts them instead, they may feel it is because they are bad. Abusive parents are often very cold to their children. Some children want attention from their parents so badly that they confuse getting hit with getting attention. An abused person feels like a hostage. She feels afraid, alone, and trapped. When children are abused, if someone comes to help them, they may cling to the person who is hurting them. These children do not like being hurt, but they want and need attention and love from their parents.

They think the parent who is hitting them doesn’t love them. They think they are hit because they are bad, so they cling. In some cases, the abused child unconsciously identifies with his abusive parent. After all, the abuser looks powerful and invulnerable. Abused women may also feel trapped. They may lack money or a safe place to go, and they don’t want to leave their children. They may even be afraid to leave because they think the abuser will find them and hurt them worse. Today we know that there are many non-violent ways to punish a child or to disagree with adults.

Violence is a choice people make. Only the abuser is responsible for this choice, and nothing a child or an adult victim does causes abuse. And, there is little a child can do to stop or prevent abuse. That is why there are services to protect and support victims of abuse. It is against church laws to cause intentional harm to any other person. Domestic violence hurts all areas of the church. Violence against women breaks the fifth commandment. It is a sin, a crime, and a serious social problem. The government is against domestic violence.

Common assault can be dealt with either as a serious offence (called an indictable offence) or as a less serious offence (called a summary offence). The sentence may be a fine, a jail term, a discharge or probation. It depends on the seriousness of the assault. The judge may choose one or more of these penalties. For example, the judge may fine the offender and place him on probation. The offender will have a criminal record. When child abuse is reported, a child worker looks into it. If there is serious danger, the child is removed from the home and placed with a family that will keep him safe.

When the child is no longer in danger, the child worker can help the family learn how to deal with its problems in a better way. Today, battered women and children can seek help. They can live on welfare or go to a shelter for abused women. These shelters help each family start a new life where their abuser cannot find them. The women and children learn that abuse is not their fault and about equal rights. The shelters help women find jobs and safe places to live. The children learn to solve problems in ways that are not violent and most important, they learn that not all men are violent.

In our society, strict ideas about how boys and girls should behave can cause trouble. This kind of thinking, about what is right for boys and girls, is called “sexism”. Today many professional counsellors are trying to teach people how to avoid this kind of thinking. They can also help people to change their feelings about the things that are right for boys and girls. The more we learn about respecting the rights and the independence of all others – boys, girls, men, women, wives, husbands, children, mothers, and fathers – the easier it will be to keep family violence from happening.

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